Lincoln’s flagship MKS gets a boost from new engine
summit daily auto writer
The much ballyhooed 355-horsepower EcoBoost engine premiered by Ford last year finds a fitting application in a substantial vehicle which definitely needed a bit more get-up-and-go – the 2010 version of the Lincoln MKS.
That new twin-turbocharged V6 does indeed turn the neo-behemoth Lincoln (so large that its trunk comes up to your chest) into a full-fledged, 130-mph-capable interceptor-cruiser.
I’m not sure if this, the planned replacement to the Town Car, is quite set up for that job, but when outfitted with that big little engine, watch out.
Opting to temporarily overlook the MKS’s largesse, I took the borderline imposing luxo-machine out for a spirited session of chucking around on the highway between Deckers and Woodland Park, and I ended up having a pretty fine time.
MKS’s 204-inch length, its 85.5-inch width and its 4,276-pound curb weight do make it a little more than sporty by traditional standards, but the 18-inch tires (up to 20s are optional) and the extra confidence of permanent all-wheel drive helped keep my frivolity in check.
For it turns out that the big Lincoln has a pretty balanced feel, good braking and decent handling for all of that real estate. Lincoln’s long heritage of careful sound insulation is very much evident here, with the exception of the macho sounds found during those full-throttle blasts.
The load of goodies that comes with a $55,000 price tag is quite astounding, so let me do a brief roundup. First of all, the EcoBoost engine (a 275-horsepower, 3.7 liter Duratec V6, which actually gets less gas mileage, is standard) is definitely worth the extra kick in the pants, with all that power spooling up instantaneously, and an average of at least 23 mpg quite attainable.
The six-speed SelectShift transmission also proved to be quite adaptable with all of that kinetic energy, though self-appointed shifts require the use of an ungainly set of thumb-and-forefinger pistol-grip paddles on the wheel. The console-mounted shift lever must also be put into manual mode to make them work.
The newest generation of the SYNC system works better and blends your Bluetooth-activated cell phone into a moderately overwhelming system of live traffic maps, weather, ski reports, Sirius satellite radio and more, though the touchscreen is located a fairly long reaching distance from the driver.
Gleaming hardwood highlights (eco-friendly, reclaimed ebony on some models) and chrome trim accentuate a super-leathery interior that looks like it used about nine cow hides from the Scottish Bridge of Weir company that’s created Lincoln’s buttery (and now highly bolstered) seats in the past.
New is the “active park assist” technology, a variation on the “parallel parking for dummies” doodads first seen on Lexus cars a few years ago; I couldn’t exactly get it to do the job for me, though I still maintain that if you can’t parallel park yourself, you shouldn’t be driving. So it goes.
The pushbutton start still leaves you with an enormous key fob that feels awkwardly large in a pants pocket (and the fob itself is all black so you’ll have to memorize its functions, as you won’t be able to see them at night).
Collision warning will indeed flash a large red light on the upper dash to warn you if you haven’t noticed an imminent collision, and pre-charge the brakes; it’s part of the adaptive cruise control system, which will automatically slow or speed the car to match traffic conditions.
A few bits are confounding, such as the odd, dual center armrest which does not actually open in a dual fashion like other carmakers’ do, as well as large headrests in the rear bench which blocked the view. Nice “ultraview” trailer mirror-styled insets in the side mirrors did help in maneuvering the mighty Lincoln about.
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